The results of the New Hampshire primary are now in, and it’s official; the victor in the Republican primary was one Donald John Trump. And while I certainly don’t want to clutter up this space with Presidential politics, there are some lessons to be learned from The Donald’s win. (For the record, though, I have a strong aversion to the prospect of a US President who appears to have a rodent resting comfortably on his head.)
I’m a morning person, getting up at the crack of zero-dark-thirty to begin my day by doing a couple of hours of work before climbing onto my exercise bike for an hour. (It’s recumbent; I’m an old coot.) While pedaling, I generally listen to one of Boston’s many sports-talk radio shows. On Monday, the day before the NH primary, who was the sports-talk show’s featured guest? None other than Donald Trump.
It was, to borrow a phrase from a much earlier Presidential election cycle, a much kinder, gentler Trump. No bombast. No outrageous statements. Nothing to send the Twitter-sphere into a swivet. (Since it was radio, I don’t know whether or not he was as disciplined regarding keeping his powder dry on his full arsenal of facial expressions, my favorite of which is the Blowfish-With-Upturned-Head.)
The interview lasted for about 20 minutes, and throughout you had the sense that Trump would have been happy to keep going for another 20 minutes or longer. And after all, why not? In all likelihood, he was conducting it from the comfort of a hotel room (5-star?), reaching many tens of thousands of New England voters (the show is syndicated to several stations in the region) displaying this new and reasonable and even charming—and, dare I say it, even engaging—persona. Meanwhile, all the other candidates, most of whom were not wearing pant-suits, were trudging around the Granite State, pretending to enjoy taking obligatory bites of comfort food in rustic diners while shaking real people’s hands. (Although I will concede that The Donald’s aversion to shaking hands is well documented, and there could be a strong wouldn’t-be-caught-dead factor to be considered with Melania when it comes to such retail politicking.)
What is the Engagement-related lesson in all of this? When all is said and done, engagement is about reaching people, connecting with them. Yes, there are traditional ways of attempting to do this. But it’s precisely because they are traditional that it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that there aren’t other ways of going about it. And those other ways may turn out to be more effective precisely because they are not the traditional ways.
Just as The Donald’s candidacy might turn out to have been just a cheap pretext for promoting his other interests, so too is today’s Musing just a cheesy way to get out yet another self-promotional message of my own.
There are now just 5 days left for you to cast a vote for my book, Otherwise Engaged, as 2015’s “Leadership Book of the Year.” All you have to do is click here then scroll down and click on the VOTE NOW button. That will bring you to a page listing all of the nominees. Scroll down a bit more until you see the thumbnail of the cover of Otherwise Engaged, click on the radio button, and your vote will have been cast.
Sneak preview of tomorrow’s Musing: I’ll be announcing an exciting new “Friends and Family Program” through which I will ask you to annoy your friends and family by forwarding these cheesy solicitations to them just as I’ve been annoyingly sending them to you.
Hey, you don’t have to be wearing a pants suit or have a rodent resting on your head to have a need to get out the vote!